The Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides is an Old World heron, closely related to (and sharing a genus with) the eastern pond-herons.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 01

 It shares the common characteristic of white flight feathers which fold away on landing to leave a cryptically coloured bird, well suited to its preferred reedy habitat.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 05

The bill is usually greeny-yellow, tipped dark, but takes on a surprising blue for breeding, contrasting with the green skin around the eye.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 02

Also look for the classic Ardeidae affectation of head plumes to impress a potential mate.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 04

The stronghold for the Squacco Heron is Africa, but it will often be seen in countries north of the Mediterannean Sea, even wandering as far as the UK on occasion.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 03

 

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.